Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you are well aware COVID numbers have been rising as we enter the winter peak of flu season. Yes, there is promise of several vaccines which allows us to see light at the end of this dark tunnel and the New Year is among us so we have hope for change but for many of us, our nerves are shot as we are struggling with the duration of social distancing, masks, not seeing family over the holiday season and everything else that comes with it.

Parenting time for children of separated/divorced parents during the winter pandemic peak adds to heightened anxieties. Many parents who are parties to court-ordered parenting plans are wondering how this winter peak might impact them, their children, and their co-parents. Some people find themselves asking, “Do I need to follow my parenting plan during the COVID-19 winter peak?” The short answer: Yes.

This is a stressful time for all parties involved, including the children. Routines continue to be upended with remote school, likely for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. Parents should do everything they can to maintain a consistent schedule, which includes parenting time with both parents. Parents should not use a peak in the global pandemic as a way to circumvent the orders of the court. At this time, Oregon courts require that exchanges need to take place as ordered by your specific parenting plan.

If a member of either household tests positive for COVID-19, then changes would likely need to take place in order to protect the child and members of each household from contracting the virus. Parents should act as responsible co-parents and plan according. Follow your physicians’ advice related to quarantine periods and allow for make-up time if possible after the exposed co-parent has recovered from COVID and tested negative. We recommend asking your doctor about how or whether parenting time should take place or resume.

Remain strong. Better times are before us. Try to be reasonable, respectful and responsible with your safety as well as your children and co-parents safe. Respect one another as we all push through this winter period.

Scott C. Bucy is an attorney with the Law Office of Robert Good LLC, specializing in family law, litigation, estate planning, business, landlord-tenant, and contract law. Contact him at (541) 482-3763.